The Delta 1913 rocket launched from Cape Canaveral fifty years ago today on June 10, 1973. Its payload was the Explorer 49 satellite which was sent up to orbit the moon.
During its mission, Explorer 49 studied low-frequency radio emissions from the solar system (including the Sun and Jupiter) and other galactic and extra-galactic sources. (p. 117, Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958-2016 by Asif A. Siddiqi)
Explorer 38 had a similar mission while orbiting the earth in 1968, but radio emissions from the earth hampered its abilities. Explorer 49’s lunar orbit reduced the impact of our planetary activities on its mission. Explorer 49 carried very long extendable antennas which it deployed over time, reaching its largest dimensions in November 1974.
The spacecraft was the largest human-made object to orbit the Moon with its deployed antennas measuring 457.2 meters (nearly half a kilometer!) tip-to-tip. (p. 117, Beyond Earth: A Chronicle of Deep Space Exploration, 1958-2016 by Asif A. Siddiqi)
The Weese family watched the launch of Explorer 49 on June 10, 1973, from the parking lot of the Holiday Inn in Cocoa Beach.
After the excitement of a rocket launch, we drove to Cypress Gardens for the water ski show. I think I remember seeing the dramatic finale — a human pyramid on skis. But it’s possible that I’m remembering that from any number of movies and TV shows that were filmed at Cypress Gardens (including three Esther Williams films).
Cypress Gardens was open in some form from 1936 to 2009 (with a few interruptions during economic hard times). At various points in history, Cypress Gardens hosted a botanical garden, ski shows, and amusement park rides. Now, it’s been taken over by Legoland Florida Resort. The original Cypress Gardens botanical garden has been preserved.
This Florida Citrus brochure from Mother’s scrapbook reminded Dale that we stopped at roadside stands for delicious oranges. According to the brochure, we would have been eating Valencia oranges in June.
I don’t have a conscious memory of the roadside stands, but I definitely retained a memory that fresh fruit was good and plentiful in Florida. I was disappointed the first time that I went to Florida as an adult. It was December and I was sure, based on our 1973 trip, that I would get Florida oranges. But all I could find was California oranges. I’ve since learned that Florida oranges, these days, mostly go into orange juice.